Sages Ravine Campsite [mile 1700.8; SOBO 682.4]
Miles to go: 485.1
I’m in the endgame now, I’d say. I’ve been moving with more focus. I rarely look up. Gotta get the miles, gotta get the miles, gotta get the miles. I was just looking through the book to check my next couple of resupplies, and I think New York is going to be a problem. There are a couple of places where I don’t see any choice but to somehow manage 17 miles. With the shrinking daylight, that’s impossible for me without the headlamp at both ends. Argh. That means fewer pictures and fewer breaks. The only way to take fewer breaks is to reduce the pack weight… which means it’s firesale time. Tomorrow I’ll go through everything and send back my Tevas, my summer sleep stuff, a pair of socks, and probably half the stuff in my disaster bag. Now that I’m back in civilization, I have more breathing room with regard to that kind of thing. I’m almost finished my book, and I won’t replace it. I bet I can drop a pound and a half even at this late date.
Everything’s about the hiking now, and less about the trail.
I finally broke down and sewed the button on my pants. I got tired of stabbing myself in the belly with the safety pin every time I had to pee.
Today the glue holding the patch on my rainpants just… rotted away. Tonight I finagled a patch out of repair tape. Truth be told, my raingear is the heaviest thing in my kit, and I wish I could send it home. But it’s part of my cold-weather setup. I don’t need it often, but when i need it, I really need it. So it stays.
And speaking of rainpants… I needed them today!
It rained all night. The way things were working out, I’m looking at a bottleneck at the next town anyway—in other words, there was no need to do a ginormous day today; it wouldn’t have gotten me out of the next town any faster. So I didn’t bother with an alarm, and I let myself stay inder the quilt for a full extra hour, until 6 AM. That felt decadent. Packing up the tent during actual daylight felt alien and almost unnerving. This was the first day in weeks that I haven’t needed the headlamp to get up and out of camp. (Daylight Savings ends in three weeks; that should help me a bit.)
The tent was soaked, of course, and the day was really too hot and humid for raingear, but going without meant getting wet and cold. No real happy medium.
I’d actually made it farther than I thought last night. If I’d realized the shelter was so close, I would have made it easily before dark. But given the lack of signage, so I had to assume the worst.
The first obstacle out of the gate was Mount Everett, a steep-looking thing, but how bad could it be, I wondered. The elevation gain wasn’t horrific.
Let me tell you: It was bad. The climb up wasn’t terrible—some rocky bits, and I even had to chuck my poles ahead once, but that was fine. It didn’t go on forever. There were no views from the top because the fog was so thick. The rain had stopped, thankfully, so I took off my raingear and started down the other side.
That’s where it got horrific. That was the most dangerous thing I’ve done in weeks. The whole other side was a series of slabs and big slides of rock. It would have been fine coming up, I think, but coming down? Bad. And worse, the rock was slick as ice. The roots were slick. The autumn leaves were unbelievably slippery and treacherous. Where they pooled, it was impossible to tell whether they were just stuck wetly to the rock or whether there was a foothold down there somewhere.
I slipped quite a few times. There weren’t enough handholds. I didn’t have any big falls, but that’s mostly because I took two hours to come down. Two hours! That’s insane. But believe me, if I have to end this hike now for any reason, I don’t want it to be a broken bone.
Anyway, at the end of that I was cold, frustrated, and exhausted (mostly mentally from the spurts of adrenaline). Then came the next mountain—still rocky and slabby, but not nearly as bad on the descent.
But by that point I was feeling increasingly ill. I’ve been dragging the last few days, and yesterday and today I’ve had a stuffy nose and a brutal headache. I’m having some intestinal issues, too… but it might all be from too much soy. I’ve been out here for too long. There are things I think a hiker can shake off for five or six months, but it’s been seven for me, and getting longer. I’m going to try to do some food things a little differently, now that there are more grocery stores.
But anyway. The trail stayed rocky. Eventually it went down, down, down into a georgeous ravine, where it followed a stream with a series of picturesque cascades. It was beautiful. Sages Ravine. Sounds romantic. Were there sages here? Probably just some guy named Sage, and they left off the apostrophe (as they are wont to do).
I’d wanted to go five more miles, but I was beat to death. I didn’t even think I’d have enough energy to pitch the tent. But I did, and I repaired the gear, and I made my list for town tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain tonight; I’m on a platform and not thrilled with how I had to tighten things.
So this is Connecticut! (Technically I think the border isn’t for a half mile, but I’ll go with the sign.) And as far as I can tell, I’ll be in New York in the middle of the week.
Gotta get the miles!
Charging the phone’s going to be the big issue.